Phytotaxa 560 (1): 030–042
Copyright © 2022 Magnolia Press Article PHYTOTAXA
ISSN 1179-3155 (print edition)
ISSN 1179-3163 (online edition)
30 Accepted by Renato Goldenberg: 11 Aug. 2022; published: 29 Aug. 2022
A new species of Pleroma (Melastomataceae: Melastomateae) endemic to Southern
Cadeia do Espinhaço, Minas Gerais, Brazil
FABRÍCIO SCHMITZ MEYER1, RICARDO PACIFICO2 & FRANK ALMEDA2
1 UPCB Herbarium and Pós-Graduação em Botânica, Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, CEP
2 Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, Department of Botany, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse
Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.
A new species of Pleroma, endemic to Southern Cadeia do Espinhaço in Minas Gerais, Brazil, is described. Pleroma piranii
is morphologically similar to Pleroma velutinum but differs in having larger leaves 2.5 7.1 × 1.4 4.7 cm (vs. 2.4 4.1 ×
1.3 2.1 cm in P. velutinum), that are densely sericeous on the adaxial surface (vs. moderately strigose), with 7 veins (vs. 5
veins), with obtuse to slightly cordate base (vs. obtuse base only), and completely glabrous style (vs. moderately beset with
appressed white eglandular trichomes along much of their length). The distributions of these two species are allopatric; P.
piranii occurs only in Minas Gerais, while P. velutinum occurs only in Bahia. According to our assessments based on IUCN
criteria, P. piranii is Endangered (EN), because its occurrence is restricted, its populations are small, and most of them occur
in unprotected areas. Here we present a description for this new species, taxonomic notes, a distribution map, a chromosome
number count, illustration and photos, and a conservation assessment.
Keyswords: Chromosome number, Planalto de Diamantina, Serra do Cipó, Taxonomy, Tibouchina s.l.
Uma nova espécie de Pleroma, endêmica do sul da Cadeia do Espinhaço em Minas Gerais, Brasil, é descrita. Pleroma piranii
é morfologicamente semelhante a Pleroma velutinum, mas difere pelas folhas maiores 2,5 7,1 × 1,4 4,7 cm (vs. 2,4 4,1 × 1,3
2,1 cm em P. velutinum), que são densamente seríceas na superfície adaxial (vs. moderadamente estrigosas), com 7 nervuras
(vs. 5 nervuras), com base obtusa a levemente cordada (vs. exclusivamente obtusa), e estilete completamente glabro (vs.
moderadamente revestido por tricomas adpressos, e de coloração branca ao longo de grande parte de seu comprimento). As
duas espécies possuem distribuição alopátrica; P. piranii ocorre apenas em Minas Gerais, enquanto que P. velutinum ocorre
apenas na Bahia. De acordo com nossas avaliações, que estão baseadas nos critérios da IUCN, P. piranii está em Perigo (EN),
porque sua ocorrência é restrita, suas populações são pequenas, e a maioria dos indivíduos ocorre em áreas desprotegidas.
Aqui apresentamos uma descrição da nova espécie, notas taxonômicas, um mapa de distribuição, uma contagem do número
de cromossomos, ilustração e fotos, e avaliação do status de conservação.
Keywords: Número cromossômico, Planalto de Diamantina, Serra do Cipó, Taxonomia, Tibouchina s.l.
Pleroma Don (1823: 283) is one of the most diverse neotropical genera of the tribe Melastomateae Bartling (1830:
329), with about 161 species. It occurs almost exclusively in Brazil (Meyer & Goldenberg 2014, Meyer et al. 2016,
2018, Guimarães et al. 2019, Goldenberg et al. 2022) especially in the Atlantic Forest (105 spp.) and Cerrado (58 spp.;
The genus is morphologically defined by its shrubby or arboreal habit, with showy, 3 to 8.5 cm diameter flowers,
with white, pink, lilac, or purple petals. The stamens have pedoconnectives prolonged below the thecae (seldom
A NEW SPECIES OF PLEROMA Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press • 31
inconspicuous) that are glabrous or glandulose, with ventral bilobed appendages (rarely biauriculate) that are also
glabrous or glandulose. Most species have anthers with an attenuate apex (rarely truncate), with white, lilac, pink, or
purple thecae, these are rarely yellow (in the antepetalous cycle); the filaments and styles are covered with trichomes or
less frequently glabrous. The ovary is superior, and in most of the species is covered with trichomes on its apical portion
(rarely covered along its entire length). The fruits are capsular, velatidium-type, and the calyx lobes are caducous on
mature fruits for most species. The seeds are minute, cochleate, and with a tuberculate testa (Michelangeli et al. 2013,
Meyer & Goldenberg 2014, Meyer et al. 2016, 2018, Guimarães et al. 2019, Goldenberg et al. 2022).
Many species of Pleroma have been described recently (Romero et al. 2009, Meyer et al. 2010, Freitas et al.
2012, 2013, Fraga & Guimarães 2014, Meyer & Goldenberg 2014, Oliveira et al. 2014, Guimarães & Silva 2015,
Guimarães & Freitas 2016, Goldenberg & Kollmann 2016, Meyer et al. 2016, Freitas & Van den Berg 2016, Rocha et
al. 2017, Meyer et al. 2018, Justino et al. 2021, Goldenberg et al. 2022, Meyer et al. 2022). This highlights the need
for sustained taxonomic studies, especially in the southeastern region of Brazil, which harbors some 120 species and
has few taxonomic or floristic treatments (Guimarães 2022, Goldenberg et al. 2022).
Among the thirty new taxa described recently, nine species came from Cerrado areas (semi-deciduous wooded
grasslands or woodlands) and most of them (seven species) are restricted to campo rupestre (rupestrian grasslands):
Pleroma comosum (Freitas et al. 2012: 190) Guimarães & Michelangeli in Guimarães et al. (2019: 977), Pleroma
michelangelii Guimarães & Freitas (2015: 553), Pleroma trinervium Guimarães in Guimarães & Freitas (2015: 554),
Pleroma rubrum Freitas in Freitas & Van Den Berg (2016: 250), Pleroma breviscomosum Meyer & Goldenberg in
Goldenberg et al. (2022: 3), Pleroma caetanoi Meyer & Goldenberg in Goldenberg et al. (2022: 9), and Pleroma
petrophylax Meyer & Goldenberg in Goldenberg et al. (2022: 19). One species came from Canga (vegetation on
ironstone outcrops) [Pleroma ferricolum Oliveira et al. (2014: 354)], whereas Pleroma bracteolatum Freitas et al.
(2012: 190) Guimarães & Michelangeli in Guimarães et al. (2019: 976) was described from riparian forests. As
indicated by Guimarães (2019), the highest species richness for the genus Pleroma is found in Cerrado areas (nearly
58 spp.; Guimarães et al. 2022), and a large part of them occur in the Cadeia do Espinhaço (Fidanza et al. 2015, Freitas
et al. 2016).
The Cadeia do Espinhaço is a Brazilian range of mountains located between 20º35’S and 11º11’S. It extends
from north of the Iron Quadrangle, in Minas Gerais (Planalto de Diamantina), to Bahia (Chapada Diamantina) states,
and constitutes a barrier between the São Francisco River Basin and the Atlantic Ocean (Magalhães 1966, Giulietti
& Pirani 1987, Oliveira et al. 2010, Santos et al. 2011), and it is approximately 1100 km long and 50–100 km wide.
It is oriented in a north-south direction with elevations mostly above 800 m (peaking over 2000 m at some points).
This mountain range has substrates composed mainly of quartzite and sandstones, and the vegetation is dominated
by Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) and campo rupestre (rupestrian grasslands) at the higher elevations. Characterized
by habitat heterogeneity and isolation on mountaintops with nutrient-poor soils, the campo rupestre vegetation of the
Cadeia do Espinhaço has a unique flora with high rates of endemism (Rapini et al. 2002, Alves et al. 2014, Silveira et
Melastomataceae are one of the richest flowering plant families in the Cadeia do Espinhaço (e.g. Rapini et al.
2008, Colli-Silva et al. 2019). In the Planalto de Diamantina, the family is represented by 23 genera and 179 species
(25 endemic; Paranhos 2020). Similar richness and endemism are expected for the Serra do Cipó, for which recent
taxonomic treatments are available only for the tribes Lavoisiereae (as Microlicieae, 69 spp.; Pacifico & Fidanza
2018) and Marcetieae (15 spp.; Rocha et al. 2020). Overall, both in the Planalto de Diamantina and in the Serra
do Cipó, Miconia Ruiz & Pavón (1794: 60) and Microlicia Don (1823: 301), Lavoisiera De Candolle (1828: 102;
with 22 species), and Pleroma are among the richest genera of Melastomataceae (Fidanza et al. 2015, Goldenberg
& Reginato 2015, Pacifico & Fidanza 2018, Paranhos 2020). Several new endemic species of the family have been
recently described from these regions (e.g. Silva et al. 2019, Almeda & Fidanza 2020, Pacifico et al. 2020a, Versiane
et al. 2022).
During the preparation of a floristic treatment of the genus Pleroma for Serra do Cipó (see Fidanza et al. 2015)
which is located in the southernmost portion of the Cadeia do Espinhaço (Giulietti et al. 1987), we discovered two
taxa that could not be placed among described species. One of these taxa is confirmed (after further analysis) and
described here as a new species. It occurs not only in Serra do Cipó, but also a little further north in Minas Gerais, in
some localities of the Planalto de Diamantina.
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32 • Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press
Material and methods
The study was based on an analysis of protologues and type specimens of the oldest and most recently described
species of the genus; we also consulted the taxonomic keys in Flora Brasiliensis (Cogniaux 1885), descriptions in
Monographiae Phanerogamarum (Cogniaux 1891), the taxonomic revision of Tibouchina Aublet (1775: 177) section
Pleroma (Don 1823: 283) Cogniaux (1885: 330) (Guimarães 1997), and a taxonomic study of the genus in Bahia
(Freitas et al. 2016). The species listed in the new taxonomic classification of Tibouchina and allies (Guimarães et al.
2019) were also consulted along with the taxa relegated to synonymy.
We consulted specimens of Pleroma deposited in SP, SPF, and UEC (acronyms according to Thiers 2022) during
the preparation of the list of species of the tribe Melastomateae occurring on Serra do Cipó, including its thematic
collection “Coleção da Flora da Serra do Cipó” (with the abbreviation “CFSC” on labels). We also found specimens
of the new species deposited in CAS, HUFU, K, NY, and UB; and in the HDJF, RB, and US herbaria using online
databases (Cria 2022, Reflora 2022).
The terminology used to describe vegetative and floral structures, as well as indumentum types, is based on Stern
(1985) and Hickey & King (2000). To classify the stamens in terms of size in relation to different cycles, we adopted
the concept of Melo et al. (2021). All specimens were analyzed with a stereoscopic microscope, and all vegetative and
floral structures were measured with a caliper or through images with scales in the software Image J (Schneider et al.
For the chromosome number reported here, collection and fixation of field-collected flower buds and subsequent
cytological analysis followed procedures described in Almeda (2013). The drawing of the meiotic chromosome figure
presented here (vouchered by the type collection) was made with camera lucida at a magnification of 2100X.
The distribution map was prepared using QGIS 3.10.7 (QGIS Development Team 2022) based on distribution
information from specimen labels. Conservation assessments followed IUCN criteria (2022). The extent of occurrence
(EOO) and the area of occupancy (AOO) were estimated using GeoCAT software (Bachman et al. 2011). The AOO
was based on 2 km2 cells, according to IUCN standards (2022).
Pleroma piranii F.S.Mey. & Almeda sp. nov. (Figures 1−2).
Type:―BRAZIL. Minas Gerais, Santana do Riacho [“Jaboticatubas”], Serra do Cipó, entre Km 112 e 113 na estrada para Conceição do
Mato Dentro, 19º10’S, 43º30’W, elev. 1280 m, 31 May 1998, F. Almeda 7762, R. Romero, O. Robinson & D. Robinson (holotype:
UEC!; isotypes: CAS!, HUFU!, UPCB!).
Diagnosis:—Pleroma piranii differs from P. velutinum by the larger leaves, 2.5 7.1 × 1.4 4.7 cm (vs. 2.4 4.1 × 1.3 2.1 cm in P. velutinum)
that are densely sericeous on the adaxial surface (vs. moderately strigose), with 7 veins (vs. 5 veins) and the base rounded to slightly
cordate (vs. the base only obtuse). It also differs by the more elongated inflorescences, 7 17.9 cm long (vs. 3.3 8.3 cm long), and
completely glabrous style (vs. moderately beset with appressed white eglandular trichomes along much of their length).
Description:―Erect shrubs to 1.5 m tall with sympodial growth, few-branched. Younger branches rounded-
quadrangular becoming rounded with age, densely strigose with a mixture of fine smooth ± appressed white to tan
trichomes 0.5–1.5 mm long and longer mostly smooth (sometimes forked) ± appressed trichomes 0.75–2 mm long
with swollen bases; the older branches brown, glabrate and decorticating; nodes initially bordered by trichomes similar
to the internodes but these falling away with age. Leaves opposite, petioles 3–6 mm long; blades 2.5–7.1 × 1.4–4.7 cm,
chartaceous, green (in live specimens) and brown (in dehydrated specimens), but mostly obscured by the indumentum
on both surfaces, ovate, base rounded to slightly cordate, apex acute, margins entire and largely concealed by the
indumentum, 7 acrodromous veins with the outermost secondary veins confluent near the leaf base on abaxial surface,
domatia absent and reticulation (if present) not evident and obscured on abaxial surface by dense indumentum; adaxial
surface ± flat, green to brownish in dry specimens, copiously strigose with a mixture of smooth eglandular linear-based
trichomes 1–3 mm long concentrated near the impressed primary and secondary veins and smooth eglandular trichomes
2–2.5 mm long with swollen bases, abaxial surface flat with elevated primary and secondary veins, color obscured by
the tan indumentum when dry, densely sericeous to strigose on the surface and elevated primary and secondary veins,
trichomes 2.5–3.5 mm long, eglandular, mostly appressed, the base mostly linear (slightly swollen on the trichomes
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FIGURE 1. Pleroma piranii. A. Branch. B. Details of the trichomes that cover the branches. C. Leaf with obtuse base, abaxial surface. D.
Leaf with obtuse base, adaxial surface. E. Details of the cordate base of the leaf (abaxial surface). F. Flower at anthesis in lateral view. G.
Petal, abaxial surface. H. Antesepalous stamen. I. Antepetalous stamen. J. Hypanthium and calyx lobes in lateral view. K. Gynoecium. L.
Bracteole with indumentum distributed only in the central portion of the abaxial surface, glabrous at the margin. M. Adaxial surface of the
bracteole shown in L. N. Bracteole with indumentum distributed along the entire abaxial surface to the margin. O. Adaxial surface of the
bracteole shown in N. [A-D and F-O drawn based on Almeda et al. 7762 (CAS); E based on Almeda et al. 7762 (HUFU).]
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34 • Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 2. Photos of the inflorescence, flowers, and some floral parts of live specimens of Pleroma piranii. A. Partial inflorescence. B.
Detail of androecium and gynoecium. C. Senescent flower, in the initial period of fruiting, without petals and stamens. D. Flowers with
petals, stamens, and style. Voucher: Almeda et al. 7762. (All photos by Frank Almeda).
A NEW SPECIES OF PLEROMA Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press • 35
covering the elevated veins), not immersed, rarely forked, eglandular. Thyrsoids 7–18 × 4–6 cm, terminal, 20–45
flowers, axis rounded to slightly quadrangular, with the same indumentum as the upper branch internodes; bracts
paired, similar to leaves in color and shape, petioles up to 2 mm long, blade 1.3–2.5 × 0.9–1.5 cm, ovate, indumentum
similar to the leaves; bracteoles paired, reddish to reddish-brown, deciduous, 7–9 × 3–4 mm, elliptic-lanceolate, apex
acute, enveloping flower buds but mostly not concealing bud apex, margins entire, finely ciliate, adaxial surface
glabrous, abaxial surface densely sericeous, with indumentum covering the entire surface, or sparsely sericeous or
glabrous at the margin, trichomes 2–3 mm long, smooth, eglandular and unforked, appressed, the base not swollen, not
immersed. Flowers 5-merous, subsessile or on pedicels up to ca. 0.75 mm long; hypanthia with the epidermis green
or reddish green, barely visible (obscured by dense indumentum), 6–8 × 4–5.5 mm, not costate, densely sericeous,
trichomes 2–4 mm long, smooth, eglandular, appressed, the base linear, not immersed, sometimes forked; calyx lobes
with the epidermis with the same color as the hypanthium, barely visible (obscured by the dense indumentum), late
deciduous, 5–6 × 1.5–3 mm, oblong, margins ciliate, apex obtuse to rounded with a tuft of smooth trichomes, adaxial
surface glabrous, abaxial surface with indumentum similar to the hypanthia, trichomes dense and concealing the entire
abaxial surface; petals purple (at anthesis) but white at the base, 14–15 × 9–10 mm, obovate to ± obdeltoid, apex
rounded-truncate, ciliate (some of the trichomes glandular); stamens 10, isometric, antesepalous with the filaments
white (at anthesis), 7 mm long, sparsely glandular-pilose on its midportion, trichomes 0.25 mm long, unbranched,
glandular, straight, the base linear, not immersed, not forked, pedoconnective white, ca. 1 mm prolonged below the
thecae, glabrous, ventral appendages bilobed, white, ascendant, apex bluntly acute to obtuse, 0.5 mm long, glabrous,
thecae purple but white distally, 8–9 × 0.25–0.50 mm, falcate, antepetalous with filaments white (at anthesis), 6.5 mm
long, sparsely glandular-pilose on its middle or upper middle portion, trichomes 0.25 mm long, unbranched, glandular,
straight, the base linear, not immersed, not forked, pedoconnective white, ca. 0.75 mm prolonged below the thecae,
glabrous, ventral appendages bilobed, white, ascendant, apex bluntly acute to obtuse, 0.5 mm long, thecae purple but
white distally, ca. 7.5 × 0.25–0.50 mm, falcate; ovary 4–4.5 × 3–3.5 mm, 5-locular, densely sericeous throughout,
trichomes 1.5–3 mm long, unbranched, eglandular, appressed, the base linear, not immersed, not forked; style purple
but white just below the stigma, 18–20 mm long, distally curved, glabrous, stigma truncate, white. Velatidium 5.8–6.5
× 5–7.3 mm, sepals late deciduous, pedicels 0.9–1.3 mm long. Seeds not seen.
Paratypes:—BRAZIL. Minas Gerais, unspecified municipality, s.d., A.F.M. Glaziou 19294 (K000329046!);
ibidem, ca 15 km E. of Diamantina, 20 March 1970, H.S.Irwin et al. 27966 (NY!, US online image); ibidem, Estrada
Diamantina-Conselheiro Mata, 20.3 kms depois do asfalto, 23 September 1994, Splett & Gröger 654 (SPF!, UB!, US
online image). Municipality of Alvorada de Minas, Distrito de Itapanhoacanga, estrada para Cachoeira Campina, 24
May 2009, L. Menini Neto et al. 708 (HUFU!, K!, RB online image, SPF!). Municipality of Datas, rodovia Datas-
Serro, Km 451, 1 March 1998, J.R. Pirani et al. 4061 (SPF!). Municipality of Diamantina, Margem de estrada para a
formação, 4 May 2016, J.E.Q. Faria 5955 (HDJF online image, HUFU!, SP!, UB!). Municipality of Itambé do Mato
Dentro, Estrada para a Serra Cabeça de Boi, 8 August 1992, J.R. Stehmann & M.E. Sobral 1122 (UEC!). Municipality
of Santana de Pirapama, Faz. Inhame, Serra do Cipó, 20 March 1982, J.R. Pirani et al., CFSC 7978 (SP!, SPF!, UEC!,
US online image); Trilha de captação da Faz. Toucan Cipó, Capela de São José, 15 March 2009, D.C. Zappi et al.
2149 (RB online image, SPF!). Municipality of Santana do Riacho, [“Jaboticatubas”], Km 139, ao longo da rodovia
Lagoa Santa – Conceição do Mato Dentro – Diamantina, 8 July 1970, A.B. Joly et al., CFSC 307 (SP!, UEC!); Serra
do Cipó, Km 109 (antigo 114) da estrada a Lagoa Santa a Conceição do Mato Dentro, 6 September 1980, E. Forero
et al. 7828, CFSC 8735 (SP!, SPF!); ibidem, UCAT, 22 February 1985, M.A. Lopes & P.M. Andrade s.n. (HUFU-
6293!). Municipality of Serro, Distrito de Mato Grosso, Pedra do Cruzeiro Mineração, 28 March 2001, R. Romero &
J. Nakajima 6006 (HUFU!).
Distribution and habitat:—Pleroma piranii is apparently endemic to Serra do Cipó and the Planalto de Diamantina
in Minas Gerais state, where it occurs on quartzitic campo rupestre associated with rocky outcrops exposed to full sun,
at elevations between 800–1390 m (Fig. 3). All known populations of P. piranii are within the Planalto de Diamantina
biogeographic district of Colli-Silva et al. (2019). The distribution pattern of P. piranii is shared with several other
species of Melastomataceae (Pacifico et al. 2020b, Paranhos 2020).
Phenology:—Collected flowering and fruiting from February to September (except June).
Conservation:—Pleroma piranii should be considered Endangered (EN) according to IUCN (2022) criterion B1.
The species is known from few populations, and its distribution is restricted. Its Area of Occurrence (EO) is 3,499.736
km2 (less than 5,000 Km2), and its Area of Occupancy (AO) is about 48,000 km2. Pleroma piranii has been collected
only 13 times between the years 1970 and 2016. One specimen was collected within the boundaries of the Serra do
Cipó National Park (Fig. 3), the only fully protected conservation unit within the Serra do Cipó. Five specimens were
collected inside the Morro da Pedreira APA (Environmental Protection Area; Fig. 3), a conservation unit with few
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36 • Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press
environmental restrictions. Other conservation units that can potentially protect populations of P. piranii include three
Brazilian state parks (Serra do Intendente State Park, Pico do Itambé State Park, Biribiri State Park), one national park
(Sempre-Vivas National Park) and one environmental protection area (Águas Vertentes APA). According to Fernandes
(2016), major threats to campo rupestre endemic vegetation include biological invasions, deforestation, mining, road
construction, tourism, human-caused fires, plant extraction, cattle ranching, and agriculture.
FIGURE 3. Distribution map of Pleroma piranii. A. Brazil. B. State of Minas Gerais. C. Distribution of P. piranii. D. Rupestrian grasslands
on Serra do Cipó, one of the places where the species occurs. (Photo D by Soizig Le Stradic).
Etymology:—The epithet “piranii” honors our colleague Dr. José Rubens Pirani (1953–), Professor of Botany at
the University of São Paulo and Curator of the SPF herbarium. Dr. Pirani is one of the major organizers of the Flora
of Serra do Cipó, and an active plant collector in the region. In addition to a productive research career concentrated
on the systematics of Neotropical Sapindales (especially Rutaceae and Simaroubaceae), he has mentored numerous
graduate students and has routinely provided botanical assistance to all students and colleagues who have solicited his
help. Two of the paratypes of this species (Pirani et al. 4061, and Pirani et al. CFSC 7978) were collected by Pirani.
Note:—Pleroma piranii resembles the species traditionally recognized in Tibouchina Aublet (1775: 177) section
Pleroma (Don 1823: 283) Cogniaux (1885: 330), especially the group defined by the following morphological
characters: (1) the appendages and connectives of the stamens are glabrous, (2) filaments glabrous or covered with
short trichomes, (3) hypanthia and leaves sericeous, (4) calyx lobes elongated, (5) branches tetragonal and devoid of
wings, and (6) leaves oval, sericeous on the adaxial surface (see the key of Tibouchina section Pleroma, according
to Cogniaux 1885). Within this group, P. piranii is most similar to species with a branched habit such as Pleroma
velutinum (Naudin 1850: 144) Triana (1872: 42), and Pleroma blanchetianum (Cogniaux 1885: 351) Guimarães &
Michelangeli in Guimarães et al. (2019: 975).
Pleroma piranii is morphologically similar to P. velutinum due to its shrubby habit (moderately branched), opposite
leaves (exclusively), these discolorous, and short petioles. It is also similar in having thyrsoid inflorescences, flower
buds surrounded by two elliptical bracteoles, pentamerous flowers, sericeous hypanthia, purple petals, isometric stamens
(i.e., the antepetalous and antesepalous cycles differ little in relation to the size of the filaments, connectives, connective
appendages, and anthers), purple anthers (light purple on its adaxial surface in P. piranii), glabrous connectives and
appendages, filaments sparsely glandular pilose on its basal portion (sometimes glabrous in P. velutinum; Freitas et
A NEW SPECIES OF PLEROMA Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press • 37
al. 2016). Pleroma piranii differs from P. velutinum by the characters enumerated in the diagnosis, and also by the
older branches with a decorticated epidermis (vs. older branches with epidermis non-decorticated in P. velutinum),
indumentum on the adaxial surface of the leaves, which is uniform in size along the adaxial surface and veins in P.
piranii (vs. indumentum on the adaxial surface of the leaves longer on the primary veins, especially the portion closer
to the base in P. velutinum). One other difference between P. piranii and P. velutinum is that the former species has
trichomes completely covering the ovary (vs. only at the apex in P. velutinum). Pleroma piranii occurs only in the state
of Minas Gerais, on Serra do Cipó and the Planalto de Diamantina, and P. velutinum occurs only in the state of Bahia,
on the Chapada Diamantina (northern Cadeia do Espinhaço; Freitas et al. 2016).
Pleroma piranii is also morphologically similar to P. blanchetianum due to the shrubby habit (moderately
branched) and leaves with short petioles. They also share thyrsoid inflorescences, flower buds surrounded by two
elliptical bracteoles, sericeous hypanthia, purple petals, isometric stamens, purple anthers, glabrous connectives
and appendages, filaments sparsely glandular pilose on its basal portion (sometimes glabrous in P. blanchetianum;
Cogniaux 1885, Freitas et al. 2016). Pleroma piranii differs from P. blanchetianum in having the older branches with
decorticated epidermis (vs. older branches with epidermis non-decorticated in P. blanchetianum), larger leaves, with
2.5 7.1 × 1.4 4.7 cm (vs. 1–3 × 0.6–2.5 cm), ovate (vs. orbicular), with opposite branching (vs. more often verticillate,
and rarely opposite). Pleroma blanchetianum may have tetramerous (less often) and pentamerous flowers (Freitas
et al. 2016), while P. piranii, only has pentamerous flowers; P. piranii also differs by the ovary that is covered with
trichomes for its entire length (vs. only at the apex in P. blanchetianum). Pleroma piranii occurs only in the state of
Minas Gerais, on Serra do Cipó and Planalto de Diamantina, and P. blanchetianum occurs only in the state of Bahia,
especially on the Chapada Diamantina (the northern portion of Cadeia do Espinhaço; Freitas et al. 2016).
Pleroma piranii also appears to be related to Pleroma clavatum (Persoon 1805: 476) Guimarães & Michelangeli
in Guimarães et al. (2019: 974); they resemble each other in their shrubby habit (little branched in P. clavatum), oval
leaves that are opposite (exclusively), discolorous (slightly discolorous in P. clavatum), and sericeous on the adaxial
surface. They also share the elongated thyrsoids, sericeous hypanthia, purple petals, isometric stamens, purple anthers,
glabrous connectives and appendages, filaments sparsely glandular pilose along their basal portions (Guimarães &
Oliveira 2009). Pleroma piranii differs from P. clavatum by the older branches with decorticated epidermis (vs. older
branches with epidermis non-decorticated in P. clavatum), brown leaves (in dehydrated specimens) on the adaxial
surface (vs. silvery leaves on the adaxial surface), with an acute apex (vs. obtuse), longer petioles that are 3 6 mm long
(vs. absent or highly reduced, and 1–2 mm long), and by the ovary completely covered with trichomes (vs. the ovary
covered with trichomes only in its apical portion). Another difference between these two species involves habitat.
Pleroma clavatum occurs in restinga (vegetation on coastal sandy soils) and Submontane Atlantic Forest along the
coast in the states of Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Guimarães 2022). There is a specimen of
P. piranii incorrectly identified as Tibouchina holosericea (Linnaeus 1753: 390) Baillon (1880: 34) (=P. clavatum) at
K (see Glaziou 19294, on the list of the paratypes). On this collection the branch on the left (K000329046) is mixed
with a specimen of P. clavatum (branch on the right, K000329047).
Finally, Pleroma piranii shares some morphological features with Pleroma nodosum (Wurdack 1959: 9)
Guimarães & Michelangeli in Guimarães et al. (2019: 986) - a shrubby habit (moderately branched), older branches
with decorticated epidermis, opposite leaves (exclusively), discolorous, short petioles, the thyrsoid inflorescences,
flower buds surrounded by two elliptical bracteoles, pentamerous flowers, sericeous hypanthia, isometric stamens,
glabrous connectives and appendages, and filaments sparsely glandular pilose along their basal portions. Pleroma
piranii differs from P. nodosum by the leaves that are densely sericeous on the adaxial surface (vs. moderately strigose
in P. nodosum), purple petals (vs. light magenta petals), purple anthers (vs. white anthers), and by the ovary completely
covered with trichomes (vs. the ovary covered with trichomes only in its apical portion). Pleroma nodosum also has
a different distribution pattern. It occurs only in Goiás (Guimarães 2022), on the Chapada dos Veadeiros (Cria 2022,
Reflora 2022), Serra dos Pireneus (Versiane et al. 2016), and Serra Dourada (Machado & Romero 2020).
Chromosome Number:―A chromosome number of n=18 was reported for this species as Pleroma aff. velutinum
by Almeda & Penneys (2022). We provide here a camera lucida drawing of a Telophase I meiotic figure for this species.
Meiosis was regular in the several cells examined (Fig. 4). Chromosome numbers are now known for about 18 species
of Pleroma, all of which have been reported to have n=18 (Gadella et al. 1969, Solt & Wurdack 1980, Zhang et al.
2010, Almeda & Penneys 2022). Two species, Pleroma cryptadenum (Gleason 1952: 426) Guimarães & Michelangeli
in Guimarães et al. (2019: 976) and Pleroma urvilleanum (Candolle 1828: 130) Guimarães & Michelangeli in
Guimarães et al. (2019: 991) have n=27 (hexaploid) in addition to n=18 (Solt & Wurdack 1980, Zhang et al. 2010) so
tetraploid and hexaploid races occur in some species of the genus. Most of the species counted to date, however, are
tetraploids (n=18) based on x=9, a common base number in the greater Tibouchina alliance that includes Chaetogastra
MEYER ET AL.
38 • Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press
De Candolle (1828: 131) and Tibouchina (Almeda & Penneys 2022). The two latter genera have both diploid and
tetraploid species based on x=9 (Solt & Wurdack 1980, Almeda 2013, Meyer et al. 2018, Almeda & Penneys 2022). Of
the five broad patterns of chromosomal evolution now evident across the Melastomataceae (Almeda & Penneys 2022)
Pleroma appears to fit the “interspecific constancy of paleopolyploid origin pattern” with x²=18 and to a lesser extent
the “interspecific polyploidy” pattern with consistently euploid number increases based on tetraploidy. Polyploidy is
common in the tribe Melastomateae but an overwhelming trend in the family is the prevalence of tetraploidy which
appears to have conferred some advantage in the chromosomal evolution of Melastomataceae (Almeda & Penneys
FIGURE 4. Drawing of chromosomes of Pleroma piranii in Telophase I (drawn with camera lucida).
We thank the research program REFLORA (#563554/2010-0, CNPQ, CAPES and Fundação Araucaria), which
funded visits to European herbaria; and to “Rede Paranaense de Coleções Biológicas – Taxonline” (NAPI, Process No.
PIT2020061000012) for the technician grant to the first author. The first author also thanks Karina Fidanza and Angela
Borges Martins for the invitation to participate in the preparation of the floristic list for the Tribe Melastomateae on
Serra do Cipó. The field work that resulted in the collection of the type specimens was made possible by a grant from
the National Geographic Society (NGS Grant 6173-98) to Almeda. We thank Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação
da Biodiversidade (ICMBio) for granting a permit to collect in protected areas of Brazil, and Soizig Le Stradic for
giving us permission to reproduce her photo of the Serra do Cipó. We also thank Alan Chou for the line drawings in
A NEW SPECIES OF PLEROMA Phytotaxa 560 (1) © 2022 Magnolia Press • 39
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